The Dixie Chicks returned to the music world in a big way this week with a new single, “Gaslighter,” the first song off their forthcoming album of the same name. Gaslighter will be their first album in 14 years, and a lot has changed for Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer since they were last at the top of their game.
For one, they care a whole lot less what their haters think.
“You just feel like, ‘Oh, OK. Well, everybody's gonna hate us, hopefully, has already hated us. And so, you got nothing to lose,’” Maines told CBS Sunday Morning’s Tracy Smith in a sit-down interview with the band.
The trio famously lost hordes of fans after Maines made a comment on stage at a London performance in 2003. Addressing the crowd at their concert, Maines said, “Just so you know, we're on the good side with y'all. We do not want this war, this violence. And we're ashamed the president of the United States [George W. Bush] is from Texas.” It was a week before the American-led invasion of Iraq.
Her comment led to a swift condemnation of the band by many. Radio stations wouldn’t play their songs, people publicly destroyed their CDs and album sales tanked. Some 17 years later, Strayer tells CBS that moment in their career was a “blessing.” Maines adds, “It was a freedom. To me, I hated that I was dragging two people through, like, what I said, was affecting other people,” while pointing at her bandmates.
The band, it should be noted, stuck together. “We were all in the middle of it,” Strayer tells CBS.
The group’s new song, “Gaslighter,” does what the Dixie Chicks do best: channel pain into beautiful music. “Gaslighter/You broke me/You're sorry but where's my apology/Gaslighter/You liar,” the women sing on the new track.
"Manipulator," says Strayer of the term “gaslighter.” "Like, just making you feel like you're crazy. And your reality is not clear to you because they're just manipulating you so much. And I think everyone has a little gaslighter in their life, right? I know mine!"
All three women have gone through divorces since the band’s last album.
Due to an ongoing legal matter, mentioned in the band’s current Allure cover story, the women are not allowed to overtly discuss the album and the album doesn’t have a release date.
"I'm so proud of this album. No matter what happens with it. It might be a slow burn; it might be a quick burn. I don't know, but it will find its way to our fans,” Strayer did manage to tell Allure. “No matter what happens with all the radio or outlets or whatever, it'll make its way.”
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